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Asta Funding, Inc. Announces Financial Results for Second Quarter and First Six Months of Fiscal 2011

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., May 10, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Asta Funding, Inc. (Nasdaq:ASFI) (the "Company"), a consumer receivable asset management and liquidation company, today announced results for the second quarter and first six months of its 2011 fiscal year, the period ended March 31, 2011.
/ Source: GlobeNewswire

    ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., May 10, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Asta Funding, Inc. (Nasdaq:ASFI) (the "Company"), a consumer receivable asset management and liquidation company, today announced results for the second quarter and first six months of its 2011 fiscal year, the period ended March 31, 2011.

    The Company reported net income of $2,855,000 for the three month period ended March 31, 2011, or $0.19 per diluted share as compared to net income of $2,875,000 for the three months ended March 31, 2010, or $0.20 per diluted share. Total revenues for the three month period ended March 31, 2011 were $11,234,000 as compared to $11,200,000 for the three month period ended March 31, 2010.

    Net income for the six months ended March 31, 2011 was $5,521,000, or $0.37 per diluted share as compared to net income of $5,350,000, or $0.37 per diluted share for the six months ended March 31, 2010. Revenues for the six months ended March 31, 2011 were $22,072,000 as compared to $22,253,000 for the same period in the prior year.

    Net cash collections of consumer receivables acquired for liquidation, including net cash collections represented by account sales were $21,899,000 for the second quarter of fiscal year 2011, as compared to $25,660,000 in the second quarter of fiscal year 2010, a 14.7% decrease from the prior year. Net cash collections of consumer receivables acquired for liquidation, including net cash collections represented by account sales were $43,004,000 for the six months ended March 31, 2011, compared to $55,090,000 in the six month period ended March 31, 2010, a 21.9% decrease from the prior year. Net cash collections represented by account sales were $88,000 and $243,000 for the three and six month periods ended March 31, 2011, respectively, as compared to $147,000 and $2,744,000 in the three and six month periods ended March 31, 2010, respectively.

    Income from fully amortized portfolios (zero basis revenue) was $9,054,000 for the three month period ended March 31, 2011, compared to $8,307,000 for the three month period ended March 31, 2010, an increase of 9.0% over the same period of the prior year. Income from fully amortized portfolios was $17,848,000 for the six month period ended March 31, 2011, compared to $16,415,000 for the six month period ended March 31, 2010, an increase of 8.7% over the same period of fiscal year 2010. Net cash collections on the Great Seneca portfolio were $3,331,000 in the second quarter of fiscal year 2011 as compared to $4,062,000 in the second quarter of fiscal year 2010. Net collections on Great Seneca were $6,882,000 during the six months ended March 31, 2011 as compared $8,972,000 for the six months ended March 31, 2010. The carrying value of the Great Seneca portfolio at March 31, 2011 was $84,392,000, as compared to $100,252,000 at March 31, 2010.

    Investments in new portfolios totaled $2,120,000 during the second quarter of fiscal year 2011, as compared to $971,000 in the second quarter of fiscal year 2010. Investments in new portfolios during the first six months of fiscal year 2011 were $5,003,000 as compared to $3,271,000 during the six months ended March 31, 2010. The portfolios acquired during the first six months of fiscal year 2011 include semi-performing litigation-related medical accounts receivable portfolios whereby the Company is assigned the revenue stream. As a portion of the accounts are performing, the cost of the portfolio is higher than the traditional charged off non-performing assets.

    General & administrative expenses were $5,651,000 for the three month period ended March 31, 2011 as compared to $5,274,000 for the three month period ended March 31, 2010. Interest expense was $739,000 for the three month period ended March 31, 2011 as compared to $1,087,000 for the three month period ended March 31, 2010. An impairment of $49,000 was recorded during the second quarter of fiscal year 2011. No impairments were recorded in the three and six month periods ended March 31, 2010. General & administrative expenses were $11,132,000 for the six month period ended March 31, 2011 as compared to $10,903,000 for the six month period ended March 31, 2011. Interest expense was $1,618,000 for the six month period ended March 31, 2011 as compared to $2,346,000 for the same period of the prior fiscal year.

    The Company had no senior debt as of March 31, 2011 and September 30, 2010. The balance of the subordinated debt was $4,386,000 as of September 30, 2010. This loan was paid in full by December 31, 2010. In addition, the balance of the non-recourse debt to the Bank of Montreal was $76,860,000 at March 31, 2011 down from $90,483,000 at September 30, 2010.

    "We are pleased with the results of the second quarter and six month period ended March 31, 2011 as we continue to generate strong cash flow and improve our liquidity position," commented Gary Stern, Chairman and CEO of the Company. Mr. Stern continued, "We are also pleased with the quality of the legacy portfolio as we reported an increase in zero basis revenue of 8.7% to $17.8 million in the first six months of fiscal year 2011 from $16.4 million during the same period of the prior year. Also, exclusive of the non-recourse debt, we are funding our business through our cash flow from operations without the need for borrowing. As of today, our current cash and cash equivalents balance is approximately $97 million, or approximately $6.50 per diluted share. In addition, we are actively seeking investments in, or acquisitions of, companies in the financial services industry."

    A conference call to discuss the results of the second quarter and first six months of fiscal year 2011 will be held on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 4:00PM, EDT.

    Based in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Asta Funding, Inc., is a leading consumer receivable asset management company that specializes in the purchase, management and liquidation of performing and non-performing consumer receivables. For additional information, please visit our website at .

    The Asta Funding, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=8464

    All statements in this news release other than statements of historical facts, including without limitation, statements regarding our future financial position, business strategy, budgets, projected revenues, projected costs, and plans and objective of management for future operations, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements generally can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "may," "will," "expects," "intends," "plans," "projects," "estimates," "anticipates," or "believes" or the negative thereof, or any variation thereon, or similar terminology or expressions. We have based these forward-looking statements on our current expectations and projections about future events. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees and are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and assumptions about us that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Important factors which could materially affect our results and our future performance include, without limitation, our ability to purchase defaulted consumer receivables at appropriate prices, changes in government regulations that affect our ability to collect sufficient amounts on our defaulted consumer receivables, our ability to employ and retain qualified employees, changes in the credit or capital markets, changes in interest rates, deterioration in economic conditions, negative press regarding the debt collection industry which may have a negative impact on a debtor's willingness to pay the debt we acquire, and statements of assumption underlying any of the foregoing, as well as other factors set forth under "Item 1A. Risk Factors" in our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended September 30, 2010 and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All subsequent written and oral forward-looking statements attributable to us, or persons acting on our behalf, are expressly qualified in their entirety by the foregoing. Except as required by law, we assume no duty to update or revise any forward-looking statements. Our reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission are available free of charge through our website at http://www.astafunding.com.

    CONTACT: Robert J. Michel, CFO Asta Funding, Inc. (201) 567-5648